British Lung Foundation

I don't believe i have COPD

I been ill for about 4 years my breathing is so poor that i haved 3 operations for other ailments cancelled they told me im in the high risk section. ive had all test done been sent to four different Hospitals been told four different answers ,i e Asthma, allergies. Gerd, Post Nasil Drip. Now the last timei was sent to the clinic it was for copd ,when i asked why this clinic i was told the length of time ive had this cornic condition

is that i have COPD i was told this by a nurse and not by a doctor.when i went to my doctor he yes i got Copd.

Im 65 not smoked for 45years

i'm asking can you have asthma copd

Thank you

16 Replies

Hi, I am 67, not smoked for 40years and didn't inhale when I did smoke. I was diagnosed with asthma after getting pneumonia 20years ago, but recently I have been told I have COPD ...but it is a grey area so the gp said. The smoking has been blamed, but my father smoked during my childhood and I had whooping cough too, so who knows.

Have you rung the BLF helpline yet, the nurses there are very informative


no i've not rung helpline yet. just got a letter now they think it could be my weight and go along this line. going round in circles

thanks for answering


Might help explain

I have RLD and Asthma which are opposite side to each other. Salbutamol will help asthma but not the RLD? it also does not change the peak flow? I have had my Pace and Ablate cancelled because of my lung conditions.

Be Well


Yea I have asthma and copd which is a lung condition ,many people do,so it's time for you to find out more about yourself mtg others and different med staff. So you can get the best treatment for you.good luck.


Hi Jonny257

I, too, have questioned my COPD diagnosis and to a point still do. At my first lung function test review with my consultant the diag. was either or but the treatment was the same so the specific diagnosis wasn't that important - the treatment was.

What do you think you would gain by knowing the specific diag? Would it affect your treatment? How is your treatment going? Over the last 4 years of breathing difficulty have your symptoms (quality of life) improved?

What is your goal?

Don't let this get you down - I think all of us on here have had to fight at some point (not physically) but with medics and maintaining a positive attitude when things don't go well.

Take care and let us know how you are

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thanks for replying. i'm now classed as disabled. quality of life has not improved.told to go abroad to warmer weather.tried it total waste of time couldn't lie down to sunbathe couldn't walk around just sat in a wheel chair can't go outside at good days all same .Just like answers what would make me feel better. all meds dont improve my health but on other hand might stop it getting worse.

Two hospitals have now dischanged me saying they cant go any further with my treatment until my breathing improves


Hi I had asthma for many years then was diagnosed with copd around 5 years ago. So it is possible to have both. In my experience trained respiratory nurses know more than doctors. I hope you haven't got it but if you have then at least you will know and have a diagnosis. Then you and your medical professionals can start to figure out how to best help you. x


You do need to be clear about the diagnosis Johnny, and many people have both asthma and copd.

I have had asthma (since my 20s). Copd diagnosed 15 years ago, having given up moderate smoking 15 years before that.

I also have GERD/post nasal drip, and allergies which are part of what causes there asthma. Also GERD can give symptoms very similar to asthma.

Its very common to have multiple diagnoses and those you have had are quite usual with people with copd. What makes me mad though is when these don't get properly explained.

You say you've had "all the tests" - assume you mean lung function tests. A peak flow test measures asthma, while spirometry will give you your FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in one second, a hard quick blow into the machine) which will indicate if you have copd - it measures the amount of obstruction in your lungs.

Both FEV1 and peak flow will give the results as a percentage of what would be normal for someone with normal lungs. You could ask your GP/nurse for those results.

Treatment of asthma and copd can be similar but the damage in the lungs with copd affects how your body can use oxygen and hence how you can get around, do stuff which involves exertion etc. Its important if for instance you have to use an ambulance to let the paramedics know if you have copd as it is dangerous to be given more than a certain amount of oxygen - too much can cause you to retain carbon dioxide which is serious.

I may be jumping ahead but wanted to give a picture of why you need to know your diagnosis. Having said all this, I hope it ends up being unnecessary and that you don't actually have copd. If it is, there are things that can be done to manage it, however advanced it is. Find out first, then come back if you want and ask more questions, always people here to help you.


HI O2Trees

Reading your reply is Almost the same as mine with all those ailments plus i have type 2 diabetis,Osteoarthrites,OSA. I went to the Hospital to have my spirometry test, sat in a booth nose clips the full lot ,they had to cancel the test cause i couldn't exhale fast and long enough to get a they're saying it might be my weight .I'm 65 years old and 20st and sugesting Bariatric Surgery might solve the problem.i've not said no but ive been down this road before Did the program pass for the op only for NICE to refuse on cost. Now it another 7 months,thats what i mean going round in circles but you never know never give up .


You have a lot to deal with Johnny. Im not a medic obviously but I think it's very likely to be copd if your breathing was so obstructed you couldn't do the spirometry test.

It makes me really p*ssed off that NICE would refuse you after you've passed the suitability test. They do this op for younger people who are three times your weight with multiple conditions, so it feels like discrimination against older people. And 65 is not that old anyway.

Ive been taking a look at the NICE guidelines for weight loss surgery

for patients with type 2 diabetes. I'll post the link in a minute - it seemed to be saying how beneficial and recommended this is as long as patients commit to quite intense follow up.

Maybe there's other factors you're not aware of in NICE's decision. It would be worth your talking to your GP again and asking why the decision was made. And, as suggested above, do call the BLF helpline - you may be asked for a time they can call you back as they get quite busy now, but they are brilliant, and will have suggestions about how to proceed.

Also the PALS service attached to your hospital is meant to be able to advocate for you though they do vary around the country.


This is a press release about NICE's updated guideline for weight loss surgery for people with type 2 diabetes. It says at the top that it is good for people newly diagnosed with diabetes but its not just about that.

Hope you can escape the "going round in circles" Johnny.

All the best :)


Thanks for that, after reading the update i hope dont go back to the bottom of the waiting list



I thought it looked quite hopeful, and refusing you the surgery for cost reasons is not a clinical decision. Let us know what happens, Johnny, good luck.


I have emphysema and asthma among other things, Chris


I was diagnosed with asthma in my late 20's after pneumonia i was well for almost 25 yrs then caught chest infections back to back for months last year i was diagnosed with chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis as well. My respiratory nurse and gp are the best to manage my condition.s i was also diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis late 2013 and dr s think all the inflamation in my body was contributing to all my lung infections. Im well this year for first time in 5 years i have good care my inhalers and emergency meds help . I have my life back and i am eternally grateful for that. My youngestdaughter 24 has had asthma all her life and is severe hard to control often on iv antibiotics and ill but she keeps going and shes an inspiration to me she has a beautiful little girl she wont have any other children as it is too high risk for her body but nothing else deters her so if she can deal with it i certainly can xxx

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im glad your feeling a lot better now

sorry to ask but are you being treated for asthma or COPD cause you said you've got chronic bronchitis as my Head line said i dont believe i've COPD do you still get bouts of bronchitis


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